Punk rock has very little new twists to offer; groundbreaking isn’t the genre’s appeal anymore and considering many Misfits tunes are rehashed Ramones riffs all crimped from Chuck Berry and sped up; it’s arguable it ever was.
However when the dynamics of what has always been punk’s bread and butter works; it can make the slab of wax on your turntable blossom into a rallying cry. Direct Hit! offers up Domesplitter a new record of old songs that the band had previously only made available online. And while breaking ground isn’t punks bag, what it does have on its side is the ability to speak to us disenfranchised, (almost) middle-aged people who grew up relying on 4/4 time and 3 chords to channel our aggression into something positive.
Domesplitter is a little uneven but given that it’s more of a fan picked compilation and less of a cohesive outing lends it a bit of gravitas that admittedly wouldn’t be afforded to other bands. Direct Hit! is sort of a perfect fit for this new wave of Fat Wreck Cords bands; a label once tied so closely with NOFX that it was useless trying to review their records because they all sounded like NOFX; which is totally cool, if that’s your thing. Everyone knows that more of a good thing is great; unless it’s drugs or drinking or BDSM on a Monday afternoon when you should be at work or watching your kid or something.
Bands like Direct Hit! and PEARS are bringing a much-needed shift towards more of an old-school attitude and sound to the Fat roster. That is certainly not a condemnation of the label, it’s a positive look at what could have become a stale idea. Quite frankly, all the Save Pop-Punk kids out there will find what they want on Domesplitter: catchy, sing-along songs with gang vocals. However, those of us with a penchant for things a little rougher around the edges may be surprised to hear what sounds like a record that more or less would have been cozy in the late 80’s before pop-punk was a section in the local retail chain record store. There are shades of Stiff Little Fingers, there are shades of the Undertones (oddly), it’s also got a feel of early Avail and maybe a dash of Descendants but without overtly trying to sound like any of those bands. It’s catchy, fast, angry punk rock that knows enough not to race to the end of the record at one speed switching up tempos and overall feel to keep each track different. That’s why this works, it sounds like a band trying out different things and doing a pretty decent job expanding on their repertoire without succumbing to their influences. Stand on the shoulders of giants and build on their progress, that’s the way to succeed. Loud, fast, rules? Fuck yeah, loud, fast, rules!